Arts & Culture

KCUR’s Arts & Culture Desk covers arts news from music to visual art to dance and theater, with a focus on Kansas and Missouri.

Our reporters explore the behind-the-scene stories about newsmakers and emerging artists. We also take a look at the intersections of arts and technology, science and creativity, and present profiles of creative people. 

The Enlightenment was a time marked by logical thought and a questioning of traditional authority. Among the great male minds of this period were some notable women. One in particular equaled, and often outshone, many men during the Age of Reason.

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Todd Wade / Flickr -- CC

The year is 2300 and Kansas City — as we know it — no longer exists.

The Eastern Empire — a loose federation of Chinese-led nations — has claimed the West Coast of the United States.

The refugee crisis from Americans fleeing east over the Rockies triggered a cataclysmic civil war, pitting the extremely wealthy against the extremely poor.

The very rich won, and the new nation that emerges has been restructured into a formalized, class-driven society.

Stained glass was nearly banned by legislators in the United States, back in the late 1970s. At the same time, there was a resurgence in art glass, or stained glass created not for churches or important buildings, but for its own sake. The Stained Glass Art Association, now based here in Kansas City, stepped in.

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Broad City is about the friendship between two twenty-something women scraping by in New York City. In light of the Season 3 premiere in February, we ask: Are Abbi and Ilana feminist heroes or depraved slackers ... or both? (Or neither?)

We delve into Abbi and Ilana's world with a comedian, two young feminists and a TV critic. Plus, an interview with Mike Perry, a KC native who animates the opening title sequences for the show.

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In the Landry Park series for teen readers, local author Bethany Hagen pictures the year 2300. From class warfare to energy sustainability issues, it's a dark vision informed by the author's own experience growing up in Kansas City.

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  • Bethany Hagen, author, Landry Park and Jubilee Manor

There are ways to make a living that sound too good to be true. But they do exist. Consider the guy who makes stuff out of Legos for a living, or the one who plays his favorite records for several thousand friends on Friday and Saturday nights. How do you get those jobs?

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Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

Joe Nunnink says he has "the greatest job in the world."  The Kansas City-native is the master builder at Legoland Discovery Center at Crown Center.    

Nunnink played with Legos as a kid, but had set the iconic toys aside for more ‘grown up” art utensils when he went to the Kansas City Art Institute to study animation. After graduating, Joe worked as a bank teller while searching for another job.

Looking Inward

Jan 15, 2016
Paul Andrews

Local artist and pastor Dylan Mortimer discusses his art, his faith and his battle with cystic fibrosis — which he addresses, for the first time, in his current exhibit, Cure.

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  • Dylan Mortimer, artist and pastor
Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri-General Collection

When Kansas Citians talk about the Crossroads Arts District, they're talking about a bustling place full of innovative restaurants, vibrant art galleries, a world-class performing arts center and specialty boutiques, not to mention high-rent condos.

During prime-time, it's got all the parking congestion of a big-city destination. 

But when people talked about the Crossroads in the 1980s, well ... they just didn't. Nobody even knew it had a name.

When Anthony Ladesich found his father's youthful correspondence with an old Navy friend on a stack of reel-to-reel tapes, he also found so much more: a portal into Kansas City's jazz history, material for his films, and a way of keeping his dad with him a little longer.

This is an encore edition of Central Standard.

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  • Anthony Ladesich, filmmaker, Be It Ever So Humble, There Is No Place and Studio A
Wikipedia -- CC

In this encore edition of Central Standard, we hear about the infamous 1974 Ozark Music Festival.

It drew as many as 350,000 people to the small, family-oriented town of Sedalia.

Traffic ground to a halt. Temperatures were in the triple-digits. Nudity ran rampant and the cost of ice skyrocketed.

Residents came home to festival-goers camped out on their lawns, using garden hoses for "baths." People sent their children out of town for safety. Hungry, drug-addled music fans stole a cow. And it only gets crazier from there.

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This was the year the Kansas City Ballet re-imagined “The Nutcracker.” Henry David Thoreau and Barbra Streisand got theatrical treatments, and the Kansas City Symphony had a variety of soloists. On this edition of Up to Date, we turn a critical eye to the arts in the Kansas City area this year.

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Jen Chen/KCUR

"Chewie, we're home" ... that simple sentence in the trailer for The Force Awakens packed an emotional wallop for some people. On KCUR's Central Standard, local fans discuss what Star Wars means to them — plus a brief, spoiler-free review of the new movie.

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What does it mean to be masculine in the 21st century? A presenter at KU's conference on masculinity and the curator of an art exhibit about the construction of masculinity across cultures and time share their thoughts.

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They

Dec 17, 2015

The word "they" — referring to people who identify as neither male or female — made the Oxford Dictionaries' shortlist for the 2015 Word of the Year. We explore the evolving use of "they" with a local transgender activist and a Standards & Practices editor at NPR.

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Laura Spencer / KCUR

Poets have a different way of looking at things. So for our year-in-review show, we decided to see what 2015 looks like in their rear view mirror. Four poets of color discuss: the three-word poem that is #BlackLivesMatter, the overlooked tragedy of Bobbi Kristina Brown, the lack of followup on kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, and closer to home, new positions in the arts and a victory for the Royals. Plus, new meaning in an old song

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Scott Hrabko

In his review of Scott Hrabko’s “Biscuits & Gravity,” KCUR music writer David Cantwell praised the Kansas City singer-songwriter's "sly and warm vocals" and the "slinky rhythms and brooding arrangements" documented on the new album. This week's Local Listen features Hrabko’s wistful reverie “I Dreamed I Quit My Job.”

Scott Hrabko & the Rabbits perform at the Westport Saloon on Saturday, Dec. 19.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Against the clean, stark white interior at 529 Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City, a seafoam blue room seems to bloom behind an open door frame at the back of the main space.

That room will soon house Kansas City's first public darkroom.

Night Blooms Darkroom & Bookstore will officially open to the public on the evening of Jan. 1, during the first First Friday of 2016. The space is located just on the cusp of the Crossroads District, across the boulevard from Hammerpress.

thecrowdedstage.com

Claire Adams was one of the Kansas City area’s most eclectic musicians even before she began collaborating with the chamber music ensemble Classical Revolution KC. Adams plays bass in the blues-rock band Katy Guillen and the Girls, and is the front person of the ornate folk-pop group, Claire and the Crowded Stage

For its 100th edition, Local Listen features “Enough,” a song that showcases Adams’ new venture with Classical Revolution KC.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Capturing a photographic image is as simple as pressing a button on your phone. But don't count film photography out just yet. We talk with the president of the Society for Contemporary Photography, an organization that started meeting again after a hiatus, and the person behind Night Blooms, KC's first public darkroom that's slated to open in January.

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Kyle Smith/KCUR

When Jaxson Metzler described his fashion aesthetic to Project Runway: Junior host Tim Gunn, he said that he's inspired by “B.A. women who want to look glamorous.”

“For what women?” asked Gunn.

“Bad-ass women, that's what they are,” Metzler replied.

Music Man

Dec 4, 2015
Paul Andrews

A local jazz musician shares his journey from addiction to homelessness to recovery.

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A young fashion designer on Project Runway: Junior discusses how his upbringing in Minneapolis, Kansas influences his creations — and how his design aesthetic is geared towards "BA women who want to look glamorous."

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Shane Evans

 

Actor Taye Diggs, who wrote the book Mixed Me!, caused a stir when he said that he wanted his son to identify as mixed rather than black. But does acknowledging one heritage deny the other?

The local artist who illustrated Mixed Me! discusses the question of identifying as mixed or bi-racial — and the nuances of his illustrations for the book.

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  • Shane Evans, local artist

The cars, the exotic locations, the action scenes, the gadgets, the women … even the most casual moviegoer is familiar with the world of James Bond. But what is Bond's place in the world today? We review Spectre, the latest in the franchise, with a movie critic, a tech inventor and a travel enthusiast.

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American composers have played a role in turning the political tables in our society. Dr. Anna Celenza speaks with Steve Kraske about how their compositions influenced people's hearts and minds.

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The Breakthrough Moment

Nov 12, 2015

Enrique Chi of the band Making Movies stopped by the studio to tell the story of his band's breakthrough moment. Which included a broken van, a crowded bus and a car engulfed in flames. This story kicks off a Generation Listen KC storytelling event at Knuckleheads with the theme Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

We explore how veterans are using art to reconnect with civilian life, and we'll also investigate how we thank veterans for their service.

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Jen Chen/KCUR

For Dave Loewenstein, a Lawrence-based artist, there’s more to creating a mural than just painting the side of a building.

In his experience, making a piece of public art has encouraged conversations (and offers of help) from passers-by, resulting in what he calls an “improvised gathering space.”

“It’s sort of like a Hyde Park Speakers’ Corner for a while when the murals are going up,” he told Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Kansas City No Violence Alliance partners and ArtsTech came together with neighborhood associations along Prospect Avenue Saturday to honor Ivanhoe neighborhood leaders with a mural.

Youth artists with ArtsTech unveiled the mural, titled "Then and Now," at the corner of 39th and Prospect. The mural was collaboratively painted by more than 75 youth artists, photographed and then framed.

One half depicts 39th and Prospect as it looked from the 1940s to 1960s, and the other shows what the area looks like and could feature in the near future.

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